Mitchell County Historical Museum

Mitchell County Historical Museum


Roger D. Lenz donated a souvenir of World War I to MCHS. This gift was given in memory of Thomas P. Lenz, along with this story:
"In 1917 my father, Thomas P. Lenz, enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps. After training to be a mechanic, he was sent to serve in France during World War I. While there, they were stationed near the front lines to retrieve downed planes and to repair and maintain vehicles. When he came home he brought some souvenirs he had acquired. Among them was a piece of fabric covering from the airplane of Manfred von Richthofen (the Red Baron). As I remember the story, my father went to the site where the Red Baron was shot down and was able to salvage this material."

Although MCHS has not been able to verify this information, it is quite evident that the Fokker Red has been painted over the typical German camouflage design. We have also learned that the Fokker Dr.1 425/17 was not badly damaged by the landing, but it was soon taken apart by souvenir hunters.

Accompanying this display is a German iron cross and the dog tags of Thomas P. Lenz.

MCHS invites you to visit our military display through the Fourth of July, honoring all those who sacrificed and those who sacrificed all.
I'd like to thank the great staff at the museum for being so generous with their time and allowing me access to the WWII PIAT British anti-tank weapon on display there. You folks are great!
Just found you on FB. Great job you folks are doing. Memorial day display? Hope I can get in there.

Preserving the past enriching the future. The Mitchell County Historical Museum is one of several sites managed by the Mitchell County Historical Society.

The Museum exhibits long-term displays, and has rotating special exhibits from Mitchell County residents.


A great man and historian passed away yesterday.

The Johnson family lost a great member yesterday. He will be missed by his family, his community, the entire county and beyond. A great man who inspired an appreciation and preservation of history. This photo was taken yesterday, his last day on this earth, as he enjoyed himself in the company of others at the Cedar Valley Memories Power Show. He scooted around in his golf cart, visited with friends and others, and returned home where he passed away last evening. God bless him and his family. He will be greatly missed.

Photos from Cedar Valley Memories's post 08/11/2022

This year's Power Show - August 13 & 14 features an awesome
Silent Auction with some of the items shown below. Give generously and take home a gift for donating to a worthy cause!


So sorry but the Museum had to be closed again today due to staff shortage (illness). We could really use some backup volunteers to greet visitors, point out helpful tips (flashlights, favorite displays, bathrooms) and take some stress off Starla. If you'd like to help during our regular hours, message us. Also check out our website for more details:


Sorry, but due to an illness our Museum will be closed today, July 15, 2022.


We actually finished putting up the rest of the signs this morning thanks to Jim Havig and Jim Gerk. Our first visitor was very impressed and she thought they took a lot of work to complete! Come see for yourself - anytime. They're permanently in place 24/7.


Exciting changes coming to the Log House in time for this year's fair, August 3-7! Thanks to a grant from the Foundation for the Enhancement of Mitchell County, we were able to purchase 5 permanent signs for the Interpretive Center (Shown in bottom right photo on the sign). Come visit us during the fair! Here's a sample....


Check out our newest web page addition at A great history lesson from a former student conducted at last year's Fair time in Osage.


We're keeping our friends informed about MCHS activities coming up this summer....Did you know we have a page for Cedar Valley Memories? Try it and LIKE it, and stay tuned!

We need good, clean, unique and interesting items for this year's Silent Auction.


The map exhibit is getting noticed - statewide! Leo Landis, Museum Curator - State Historical Museum of Iowa visited last Saturday. He was impressed! Maybe you can be too...the museum is open Wednesday through Saturday 1:00-5:00.


Rainy day. What to do? Hey, there's a really cool map exhibit at the museum and the museum will be open this afternoon from 1:00 - 5:00!! Wow! Learn things. Strange things. Interesting things.


Hot off the press...our issue #1 Newsletter! Currently all members will be receiving a copy. If other friends would like one, please comment below or message us with your address. It's free and a great reminder of our highlights.


“Are We There Yet? Let’s Check the Maps,” an antique map exhibit at the Mitchell County Historical Society Museum in Osage, has uncovered more than just maps.

While researching mapmakers, organizers found several interesting stories, not the least of which is the tale of Henry Holdship, whose 1857 map, on display, contains one of Osage’s earliest plats.

Curious about Holdship, organizers began to conduct research on “Holdship and Co.,” who produced the map.
They discovered a surprising history – one that eventually led to one of our nation’s worst disasters!
Watch for the story in the EJ.

All told, almost 100 maps are on display at the museum, which is open through September from 1-5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday.


Have you had time to see the Map Exhibit at the Museum? Rainy day, Saturday afternoon....Let's Check the Maps! Read the reviews. It's getting noticed.

Photos from Mitchell County Historical Museum's post 04/25/2022

Here's a link and a couple of photos of the opening event for the "Are We There Yet?" exhibit. Thank you Kurt Meyer for the original poem with the same name. It's published on our museum website page:
Photos are courtesy of our guest who traveled the farthest to visit the event, Bruce Hugo from Utah.


If you haven't heard yet, this map exhibit is awesome! We had great crowds both Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. The compliments were flowing and we heard sincere promises that people would return. There's almost too much to take in during one visit! Tell your friends!


Can you ever have too many maps?
Join us for the "Are We There Yet?...Let's Check the Maps!" exhibit opening this weekend. Sneak preview tonight at the John Denver Benefit Concert and Grand Opening tomorrow at 2:00 pm. Plan on staying awhile. We counted 95 maps yesterday!!


We were very happy and honored to receive a gift donation for our Maps Exhibit from ViaField yesterday. The check was $1,000 (even though the big one looks like $11,000). Their generosity will go a long way helping to improve the museum's display. THANK YOU!!!

Mitchell County Historical Society 04/19/2022

Mitchell County Historical Society

Want to know when our Map Exhibit starts? Check this page for reference....

Mitchell County Historical Society Join us for our Exhibit Grand Opening. Sunday, April 24th, 2:00 pm, at the Cedar River Complex! Wine and Cheese, good friends, great stories. It's a party of epic proportions.


Did you know that if you attend the John Denver concert on Saturday night you'll get a Sneak Preview of the Map Exhibit at the Museum???? What a deal.


Which maps do we use? While we make our decisions and finally get the "chosen" maps displayed, we are going to close the Museum to visitors until the Grand Opening April 24th! Will this map be chosen???


Coming soon! Work is progressing well on getting our "Are We There Yet? Let's check the maps!" exhibit ready for opening day Sunday, April 24th at 2:00. It'll be a party!!
this is a top down view of some of the "billboards" we've built to hold all the maps.


Yesterday, Kurt Meyer and Denis Boerjan sorted through Kurt's map collection. We came up with 37 maps. Add this to the 20+ in the Museum's collection we'll be using. Deb Nicklay has been helping to catalog those maps, write the newspaper articles and she took the photo below. And there are a few more coming in from donors in the county. 60 maps!
It's going to be a grand opening April 24th!
If you plan to attend the John Denver Benefit Concert Saturday, April 23rd - you get a sneak peak!

Photos from Mitchell County Historical Museum's post 04/10/2022

Work is at an almost feverish pace getting the Museum ready for our new exhibit coming this month. A very big thanks to Carol and Bill Schmidt for allowing us to use their garage for painting. In the photos below we are assembling a couple of the display walls. These will stand and hold all the maps. We still have not determined the exact number but it's well over 30 and probably well over 40!


The museum is planning the next big exhibit as the article in the Globe Gazette today explains. Please contact us if you have older maps that you wouldn't mind loaning for the summer.

Mitchell County Historical Society - MCHS Museum 11/25/2021

Mitchell County Historical Society - MCHS Museum

Just posted...the text of Kurt Meyer's presentation of the "The Garland Story" at the MCHS Annual Meeting. Interesting context to receiving the new (old) portrait of Hamlin Garland. Click here:
The museum is open Wednesday through Saturday afternoons (excluding holidays). Bring the family and take a look. It's worth it!!

Mitchell County Historical Society - MCHS Museum Cedar River Complex


We've updated our website to include the video in the Hamlin Garland Revisited Exhibit. Click here: Then click on title below the photo to open the link.
Enjoy and comment!!


Here's the video that was created for the Hamlin Garland Exhibit. It's available at the museum....along with the wonderful portrait and other displays. Museum hours Wed thru Sunday afternoons.

Photos from Mitchell County Historical Museum's post 11/22/2021

A great time at the Annual Meeting and opening of the Hamlin Garland Exhibit. So much fun in fact, there's talk about doing it again next year...!


You KNOW that we are having the big unveiling ceremony this Sunday, Nov. 21st of the Hamlin Garland portrait. This note is from the artist's son.....

Thank you all for sharing the (excellent) article and the planning and hard work being put into the upcoming event at the Mitchell County Historical Society. I, too, wish I could be there but unfortunately still find myself awash in dealing with all of the details following my wife’s death. I certainly hope the event serves to help draw attention to Hamlin Garland and his legacy and the work of the Society to perpetuate his memory. I believe Hamlin and my father would be pleased at this occasion taking place some 84 years after the painting of the portrait. If you look closely you may see smiles on Hamlin and Zulime’s faces. Maybe just my imagination……
Thank you all again for making the most of two men who continue to make a difference. Would love to get a picture of the unveiling and the core group who made it happen. Keith Martin (Jr)

Hamlin Garland Society 11/14/2021

Hamlin Garland Society

We've heard a few were not able to access the Globe Gazette article published this week. Here is another link to the article - via the Garland Society website! (Also worth checking out)

Hamlin Garland Society Hamlin Garland Returning to Mitchell County Jason W. Selby Press News, Nov 11, 2021 Hamlin Garland is returning to Mitchell County. For Kurt Meyer, president of the Hamlin Garland Society, it is an...


A week from tomorrow - the unveiling of the latest acquisition to the Mitchell County Historical Society Museum!

Join us at the CRC in Osage for our Annual Meeting and Program. 2:00, November 21st. We will be honoring our county's most notable author, Hamlin Garland. There is a ribbon cutting for the new exhibit, "Hamlin Garland Revisited" and the unveiling of a remarkable painting done in 1937.

Of course....refreshments will follow!

Hamlin Garland returning to Mitchell County 11/12/2021

Hamlin Garland returning to Mitchell County

An excellent article on one of the museum's latest and greatest treasures! Hamilin Garland, a local boy, grew up in Mitchell County and made a success of his life.

Please join us Sunday, November 21, 2:00 at the CRC in Osage....for the unveiling!

Hamlin Garland returning to Mitchell County Hamlin Garland is returning to Mitchell County.


It was 103 years ago that the U.S. first celebrated what would be known as Veterans Day, when World War I finally came to an end. A ceasefire was declared on the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. For many years after, November 11 was known as Armistice Day to celebrate peace and the end of war. Many years later, Congress officially changed Armistice Day to Veterans Day to celebrate the monumental sacrifices made by a record number of U.S. military who went into battle during World War II. Since then, Veterans Day honors all members of the U.S. Armed Forces, thanking them for their service.

Every year, at 11 am on November 11 in Washington, D.C., a special ceremony is held at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Ceremony. The President lays a wreath and a color guard honors those who have fallen in battle.

We wish to honor all of our veterans, both living and those whose memories are living in our hearts. Thank you for your service. We salute you. We respect you. We are grateful for you.

Photos from Mitchell County Historical Museum's post 10/17/2021

Jim Gerk and Keith Johnson showed up at Fort Severson today to help Denis Boerjan to do some minor repairs to the Fort. We also cut some branches to improve the view of the Fort from the road. Great day to be outside in this beautiful fall weather (except for the bugs). Notice the "before" photo, actually from the last post on this page, and see if you can find the vehicle and worker in the "after" photo.

Photos from Mitchell County Historical Museum's post 10/09/2021

We finished the last of our four signs at four sites maintained by the MCHS. Please visit these sites and appreciate our preservation projects. Hint: donations help in these efforts!
Thanks again to Shop on State for their grant making these signs possible at the Log House and School House on the Fairgrounds in Osage, Cedar Valley Memories west of Osage, Walnut Grove School and Docken Cabin in Meroa, and Fort Severson - way out in the country by Carpenter.


Here is a photo from the 1973 Winter Sports Festival at Osage High School. The girl on the left is Mary Staff. The girl on the right is Becky Funk. Can you recall the name of the foreign exchange student in the middle? Thanks for your help.


This is the photo of cats that was mentioned in the post below and was covering the bride's photo in the frame.


Does anyone recognize the young bride in this photo? It was found underneath another picture that someone purchased at Shop on State on Oct 1. 2020. The engraved stamp on the bottom is from Hamley Photography in Maquoketa IA. If relatives of the subject can be found, the person who purchased it would like to return this to them. It looks to be a wedding photo from 1900 to 1920ish. No name on photo. It fits in an 11 1/4" x 15 1/2" frame. If you recognize the woman in the photo, please contact the museum and we will let the person know.

Photos from Mitchell County Historical Museum's post 09/12/2021

Some hot, hard work by dedicated volunteers, Jim Gerk, Martha Chancellor, and Denis Boerjan this morning getting the last of four signs installed. Today it was Fort Severson near Carpenter, IA. We think it needs a topper sign that says, Fort Severson. We could also use some help trimming trees so we can see the Fort from the road. Any volunteers? Thanks again to Shop on State in Osage for the grant making these signs possible!


Here is one more mystery photo we'd like to be able to identify. Do you recognize anyone in this picture from 1912? Again, it is probably from Osage High School or Cedar Valley Seminary. We did not see the photo in the yearbooks we have at the museum. We appreciate your help.


Here is a photo that we need your help with. Can you identify this 1903 team or anyone on the team? It is most likely Cedar Valley Seminary or Osage High School. We did not see this photo in the yearbooks that we have for either school. Thanks for your help!


A photo of a typical log hauler in use. Notice the wood cab to give the steersman some warmth. How many tons is it pulling through the snow with no brakes?

Photos from Lori Mark's post 08/20/2021

Photos from Lori Mark's post


Join us for a great time at the fair. Charlotte Meitner p

Videos (show all)

Here's the video that was created for the Hamlin Garland Exhibit.  It's available at the museum....along with the wonder...
Join us for a great time at the fair. Charlotte Meitner p
1912 Reeves



809 Sawyer Drive
Osage, IA

General information

The Mitchell County Historical Society Museum hours are 1-5 p.m. daily and by appointment. Located at 809 Sawyer Dr. Osage, Iowa 50461. If you have questions or need more information, you may reach the Museum by calling 641-832-2574.

Opening Hours

Wednesday 1pm - 5pm
Thursday 1pm - 5pm
Friday 1pm - 5pm
Saturday 1pm - 5pm

Other Nonprofit Organizations in Osage (show all)
Mitchell Co. Pioneer Pheasants Forever Mitchell Co. Pioneer Pheasants Forever
1879 IA-9
Osage, 50461

The Mitchell County Pioneer Pheasants Forever Chapter is dedicated to wildlife habitat improvement, youth hunter education, and the promotion of soil and water conservation.

For the Love of Grace For the Love of Grace
1115 S 6th Street
Osage, 50461

We always accept donations that will 100% go towards the making of the rag quilts. You can message

Mitchell County Free Thanksgiving Meal Mitchell County Free Thanksgiving Meal
PO Box 146
Osage, 50461

Every year, Life church of Osage Iowa, local businesses, and citizens of our great community volunteer to provide a Thanksgiving meal to those in need, alone, elderly, and those wh...

The Foundation for the Enhancement of Mitchell County The Foundation for the Enhancement of Mitchell County
212 S. 5th Street
Osage, 50461

The FEMC has been established to serve and enhance the quality of life for Mitchell County.

Osage Chamber of Commerce Osage Chamber of Commerce
704 Main Street
Osage, 50461

The Osage Chamber of Commerce exists to promote, support & protect Osage area commerce & tourism.

Mitchell County Farm Bureau Mitchell County Farm Bureau
709 Main Street
Osage, 50461

Farm Bureau is a grassroots organization committed to serving Mitchell County residents and the farm

Mitchell County Jobs Mitchell County Jobs
Osage, 50461

Updates weekly to bi-weekly on new jobs available in Mitchell County!

Osage Summer Theatre Program Osage Summer Theatre Program

Locally grown, free-range theatre for K-12 youth in Northern Iowa.

Mitchell County Bridges Mentoring Program Mitchell County Bridges Mentoring Program
833 Ash Street
Osage, 50461

Bridges Mentoring Program Email: [email protected]

Sacred Heart Council 4308 Knights of Columbus Osage Iowa Sacred Heart Council 4308 Knights of Columbus Osage Iowa
1403 State Street
Osage, 50461

We are a Catholic Men's organization that supports the Catholic Church.

American Legion Post 278 American Legion Post 278
504 Main Street
Osage, 50461

The American Legion is a community of Veterans for Veterans and Patriotic Citizens. Our Post is open

Midwest Cowboy Ministries Midwest Cowboy Ministries
1103 Main Street
Osage, 50461

Midwest Cowboy Ministries is a group of musicians who work as a team to put on Cowboy Church Service